A 6-year-old boy, while returning to home from the sea shore, was passing through a market with his 4-year-old sister. His sister stopped at a toy shop and started looking at toys displayed in and outside the shop. The boy asked her sister whether she needed anything. The girl showed him a doll using her finger.
The child picked up the doll and gave it to her sister like a responsible brother. She was overjoyed at his brother’s gesture. The child then came to the counter and asked the shopkeeper,
“How much is this doll worth?”
The shopkeeper was watching all this and was surprised to see the child’s mature behaviour. He was an old experienced person, who had seen many ups and downs of life. He affectionately asked the child,
“Tell me son, what can you give?”
The child took out all the seashells and oysters from his pocket, which he had picked up with his sister a while back from the sea shore, and gave to the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper picked only five out of those shells and returned the rest to the child. The child happily took back the shells in his pocket and went away gleefully with his sister.
A worker of that shop, who was watching all this, asked the owner, “Sir, you gave such an expensive doll in exchange for only 5 seashells?”
The shopowner said with a smile,
“For us it may be just shells, but for that 6-year-old kid, it’s quite valuable. At this age, he doesn’t know what money is. But when he will grow up, he will remember that he had bought a doll for his sister in exchange for seashells. Then he would definitely remember me, and realise that this world has no dearth of good people.
A person of reason and prudence may find loopholes in this story, as we are used to now in this materialistic world, but frankly enough, I was also one of those children, who used to collect seashells as if those were the real coins. In fact, in the ancient India, cowries (cowry is also a type of seashell) were used and accepted as coins.
This hobby of collection later became the essential part of my study, when I used to collect leaves and flowers for making herbarium and rocks and minerals during my geological excursions.
But here I’m talking of innocence that comes first naturally, wisdom and experience only thereafter. But the knowledge snatches innocence. William Godwin had said in this regard,
“No man knows the value of innocence and integrity, but he who has lost them.”
Coming back to the story, can the same boy go to a shop with seashells for shopping, once he comes to know that these shells are of no value. These shells are however being sold now as sovenirs that command handsome prices.
An innocent person is not stupid, he or she just thinks that everyone has a good heart.
Suppose the shopowner had refused and ridiculed the boy, his innocence would have shattered at that moment itself. But the shopkeeper helped increase the positivity in the child by a small gesture and in his way inspired him to become a good person.
Remember, an attitude of gratitude is a choice that springs from the soul.
first two images from pinterest